Speaking on the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning,  Cubs president, and former Red Sox general manager, Theo Epstein confirmed John Henry's assertion that the principal owner was against signing Carl Crawford to the seven-year, $142 million deal he received prior to the 2011 season. Epstein said, however, that Henry was alone in his opinion, with the rest of the organization's decision-makers being on board with the commitment.
"When you own the team you can do that, and I think John is an organization-first kind of guy. Those were kind of unique circumstances," Epstein said. "The bottom line was that's right. I think John didn't want to do that one, but everyone else did in the organization. Everyone knew it wasn't perfect. You don't set out one day looking to spend that kind of money, but I think where we were, with the core the Red Sox had in place, after acquiring Adrian Gonzalez and having the top three starters, Lester, Beckett and Buchholz, under control, there was a real opportunity to kind of separate the Red Sox talent-wise from the rest of the division for the next four to five years where you would have your core in place and you would be complimenting that core with smaller free agent signings and home-grown players from the farm system.
"John's right, he didn't want to do that one, but everyone else did. It's a sign of a good owner to empower your baseball people and that led to a lot of success over the last decade. It didn't really bother me."
Also broached by Epstein was the signing of John Lackey, who is currently sidelined after undergoing Tommy John surgery following two underwhelming seasons with the Red Sox.
"I just think we haven't seen a healthy John Lackey. I look back, one thing we could do over ... obviously the Red Sox added that clause in the contract at the time of the signing to get the extra year for Tommy John, so it was clear there was something less than perfect in the elbow. To do that one over again, we made too much of an assumption he would still pitch up to his capabilities and maybe at some point he would have Tommy John," Epstein said. "But the reality was that the elbow wasn't right and it limited his effectiveness. He just wasn't the same guy. He didn't have the same feel for his breaking ball, he didn't have the same finish on his pitches, he didn't have the same command on his fastball, which is everything for him. He struggled I think because of that, so I'm hopeful when he does return from the Tommy John ... getting away this year will be good for him, not only physically but mentally. I think he'll come back and the Red Sox will see a much more solid rotation pitcher for him."